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Wonder Women Entrepreneurs! This is the place to join conversations with thought leaders who amaze, astonish and inspire you. Listen each week as entrepreneur and host Kalika Yap explores the challenges, wisdom and breakthroughs of extraordinary people. (An Entrepreneurs’ Organization production)

Featured guests include:
Lisa Sugar, cofounder of POPSUGAR
Toni Ko, founder of NYX Cosmetics
Devin Alexander, celebrity chef and nutrition expert who appears on "The Biggest Loser"

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Jan 12, 2018

Devin Alexander, Media Personality, Multi-time New York Times Bestselling Author, Restaurateur, Healthy Comfort Food Chef, Weight Loss Expert, and Chef of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” is passionate about making women feel good. Today on the EO Podcast, Devin discusses her journey to entrepreneurship and overall health. Tune-in to learn how Devin put herself on the scene with persistence, research, and a bit of “stalkiness,” despite the challenges she faced personally and with others. Find out how Devin can now, with a smile, truly say that she’s “fantastic.”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:40 – Devin’s Entrepreneurial Journey: She set out to make women feel great
  • 00:49 – When she was 15 she weighed 200 pounds and was bullied in school; she wrote poems and knew that there was something better in store for her
  • 01:15 – She didn’t get into school for theater, which is what she wanted; she started reading cookbooks and trying to lose weight by cutting just 100 calories a day
  • 02:24 – She lost 25-35 pounds in the first year and never planned to be a chef, but through transforming her cooking and losing the weight, she transformed her mindset
  • 02:50 – Devin feel that she still doesn’t have willpower, but by cooking in better ways she doesn’t need it
  • 03:06 – She graduated from Smith College and got an apprenticeship with the Television Academy in LA
  • 03:53 – She volunteered to cook at charity events and celebrities figured out that she could make people’s favorites much better
  • 04:20 – She went to culinary school thinking she’d eventually go back to screenwriting
  • 04:50 – She wound up owning a catering business and “ghostcooking,” where she’d cook and the client would take the credit
  • 05:28 – She learned that this would be great for dates
  • 05:56 – She went through a premature mid-life crisis at 27; she was too thin and her food issues came to a head and she didn’t feel good
  • 06:20 – She wound up in Overeaters Anonymous and realized that catering was not her passion; she is an entrepreneur with a love for cooking
  • 06:57 – She took a job in the media world (Muscle and Fitness Magazine) so she could understand it
  • 07:20 – This catapulted her career, she learned the media side and made demo reels with her friend that made it look like Devin was the host of a cooking video series called “A Slice of Devin”
  • 08:31 – She went to NATPE (National Association of Television Program Executives) every year, learned the guest list, interned, and sought to meet the right people
  • 09:14 – She sat in the lobby of Weller Grossman Productions because she knew that one of the principals was really nice
  • 09:27 – She felt that she had a chance to convince him to put her on the show “Smart Solutions” on the Home & Gardens Network and it worked
  • 09:40 – This was her first ever national TV spot (her first TV appearance)
  • 09:54 – She went to NATPE every year; Devin and Karen Kripalani found a Craigs List ad looking for people that didn’t go to their high school prom for a TV pilot for Bravo
  • 10:30 – She went in for an interview, she knew the company did shows on Food Network
  • 11:00 – Her dad was in the hospital at the time, she was working at Muscle and Fitness Magazine, and she got a callback asking her to be on the show and attend a prom in Glendale
  • 11:13 – They offered to send her to her high school’s prom, realized she could cook well, and were able to get her a pilot offer on Food Network
  • 11:35 – After that (and some “stalk-y” things she did on her own) she was getting TV bookings; after her first book was done, her book got publicity she met the producers of Biggest Loser
  • 12:15 – She turned down a pilot offer on Food Network but it wasn’t the right fit; she was attached to 13 different shows before she got her first show on Discovery Health and Fit TV
  • 13:00 – She stalked the Food Network’s production companies and continued being persistent until someone making the decisions changed their mind
  • 13:25 – How does someone transform their mindset out of a negative state?
  • 13:39 – Devin has a sister who had always loved to work out
  • 14:10 – It wasn’t until she was at a Biggest Loser resort, she was getting paid to be there, and she was taken on a 2.5 hour hike, that she realized that she loved it
  • 14:20 – Devin wished she could always get paid to work out; she doesn’t like the time it takes to work out
  • 14:55 – She used to think working out was a waste of time; the only thing she could think of was when she was going to be done
  • 15:10 – Now Devin plays tennis with a group and they also have parties together; she realized that she was being hypocritical by telling people to pursue their dreams while not pursuing her own to become a mom and find a guy
  • 16:10 – She’s in the process of fostering a baby; her heart is attached to foster children and she might have a baby this year
  • 17:00 – She has a few big projects coming up; she had a good run and was on top of the healthy movement for a long time
  • 17:10 – She had restaurants on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line thinking it would make her long-term income, but it wasn’t as easy as she thought
  • 17:44 – It took her out of the TV world and she was in a car accident that caused a TBI that took 1 year to fully rehabilitate
  • 18:00 – She’s back and getting involved with a start-up, a TV deal is pending, and a couple other things are in the works
  • 18:18 – She feels like she’s back and going in the right direction; she just got back from an event in Loretto, Mexico at a spa “Celebrity Chef Pastry Week”
  • 18:36 – She decided that she is going to pursue love; she wants to be “in love” with every aspect of her life and this has inspired her entrepreneurial journey, confidence, and journey to have a child
  • 19:15 – Many people have reached out to support and love her in the journey to have her child
  • 19:57 – Many doctors and dieticians are in a hurry to give blanket diet instructions; those statements like “never eat red meat,” or “get enough sleep and cut out stress,” aren’t so simple
  • 22:22 – She takes the calorie-counting out of her diet and recognizes the things she loves and what needs to be eaten in moderation (meat and fried foods)
  • 23:10 – She usually doesn’t eat so many vegetables when she eats out because they are sopped in oil; she’d rather skip those and eat a little chocolate and plain tomatoes in her room later
  • 23:40 – When she travels she gets a room with a fridge and gets her healthy snacks at a grocery store
  • 24:27 – She knows herself; if she’s tired she craves food, so if she has to pick between sleep and working out, she’d rather sleep
  • 24:45 – There’s no amount of working out to combat the amount of food she’d eat when she’s exhausted trying to get energy
  • 25:05 – These are the things she knows about her body that she helps clients learn about themselves to find success
  • 25:16 – Tips for entrepreneurs: Operate with passion
  • 25:56 – She knows that she has a message and knows that she can help people and this excites her and keeps her going; she truly wants women to feel good
  • 26:10 – Dave Kerpen, author of “The Art of People” and Mark Moses have really affected her with their EO talks
  • 26:50 – She learned that anytime someone asks you how you are you should be fantastic
  • 27:11 – The next time she was in Trader Joe’s, she was totally in her head and remembered to say she was “fantastic”
  • 27:50 – The bagger and checker were surprised and asked her why so she told them about the seminar and realized that she is, in fact, doing fantastically
  • 28:55 – We all have the same struggles and challenges as entrepreneurs, but at the end of the day, it is pretty fantastic
  • 29:16 – Get centered on what is good for you in your life, diet, and business

 Key Points:

  1. Be persistent when pursuing your goals; don’t stop until you get a “yes” and don’t quit because of other’s negativity.
  2. Operate with passion; this will keep your work exciting, impactful, and mission-driven.
  3. Be centered, balanced, and fantastic...because you truly are.


Resources Mentioned: